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Florida Child Custody and Support Guidelines

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Florida Child Custody and Support Guidelines:

The court shall determine all matters relating to custody of each minor child of the parties in accordance with the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child. The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.

The court shall order "sole parental responsibility, with or without visitation rights, to the other parent when it is in the best interests of" the minor child. In ordering shared parental responsibility, the court may consider the expressed desires of the parents and may grant to one party the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child's welfare or may divide those responsibilities between the parties based on the best interests of the child. The court may order rotating custody if the court finds that rotating custody will be in the best interest of the child.

For purposes of shared parental responsibility and primary residence, the best interests of the child shall include an evaluation of all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including, but not limited to:

  • The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent.

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.

  • The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.

  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.

  • The moral fitness of the parents.

  • The mental and physical health of the parents.

  • The home, school, and community record of the child.

  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.

  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.

  • Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding pursuant to s. 741.30.

  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
  • Any other fact considered by the court to be relevant.

[Based on Florida Statutes 61.121 and 61.113]

CHILD SUPPORT:

In a proceeding under this chapter, the court may at any time order either or both parents who owe a duty of support to a child to pay support in accordance with the state guidelines. The court initially entering an order requiring one or both parents to make child support payments shall have continuing jurisdiction after the entry of the initial order to modify the amount and terms and conditions of the child support payments when the modification is found necessary by the court in the best interests of the child, when the child reaches majority, or when there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties.

Each order for support shall contain a provision for health care coverage for the minor child when the coverage is reasonably available. To the extent necessary to protect an award of child support, the court may order the obligor to purchase or maintain a life insurance policy or a bond, or to otherwise secure the child support award with any other assets which may be suitable for that purpose. [Based on Florida Statutes 61.13]

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